March 17, 2019Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) has been busy responding to the emerging risks of COVID-19. Last week, SLFNHA’s staff have been working to come up with recommendations to keep residents who reside in 33 remote First Nation communities safe.
Assisting our Communities
SLFNHA has reached out to First Nation leaders to offer expanded supports. We are doing the following:
- Holding regular teleconference meetings with the following:
- Nishinawbe Aski Nation
- Chiefs Committee on Health
- SLFNHA Board of Directors
- Providing health promotion materials for each community
- Not allowing visitors at our hostels
- Assisting with personal protection equipment assessments
- Placing and coordinating bulk orders for cleaning and hygiene supplies
- Providing support in updating community pandemic plans.
- Developing practical tools and checklists to ensure each community is prepared.
- Providing updates via social media when new information arises
- Broadcasting information updates on Wawatay Radio at 1 p.m. CST all week long
Assisting our Employees
To ensure we can effectively support our communities, we are also working to ensure the safety of our 300+ employees by:
- Establishing an Internal Response Team who meets daily via teleconference
- Canceling all training, events, workshops, and non-essential travel.
- Creating new policies to for the potential of 14-day isolation of employees.
- Encouraging employees to work from home if they can.
- Educating all essential employees, who work closely with clients, on the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Ensuring Staff are being sent home if they are experiencing any of the symptoms.
- Reviewing infection prevention and control for all SLFNHA sites that host clients, our hostels, Clinics etc.
We are advising everyone to practice the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water (pre-boil water regularly if needed) or use alcohol based hand sanitizer
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow (not your hands)
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid contact with people. This may mean canceling family get-togethers like birthdays, or other celebrations.
- Arrange for food delivery within your community if possible
SLFNHA is working towards providing regular updates and encouraging everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of the virus by following the steps provided. The situation is being taken very seriously by all levels of government and so far there is only one confirmed case of COVID-19 within Northwestern Ontario.
For the most up-to date information on COVID-19, visit publichealthontario.ca